Brandon Cerecke and Lee Kjos of BOSS Shotshells join Ramsey for a fast-and-furious roundhouse, full-on old school discussion. Plowing like a meteor through a snowbank, the trio talk about shotguns, chokes, patterns, exciting new BOSS copper-plated bismuth  shotshell developments, duck season expectations, and good ol’ rock-n-roll!  What’re the boys readying for duck season? Is there really a sub-gauge revolution happening in America? Why are young hunters now shooting grandad’s generations-old safe queen, or suddenly buying hunting shotguns older than their dad?  Who’s listening to what, memorable concerts and what does Kjos propose as a future episode topic?


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Swapping Stories with Lee Kjos & Brandon Cerecke


Ramsey Russell: I’m your host, Ramsey Russell. Join me here to listen to those conversations. Hi. We are live at that tone right there, and I’m glad to have you folks on the line today. Lee, you’re all the way down at the Missouri-Kansas line doing duck habitat.

Lee Kjos: That’s right. I’m working on a 210 acre piece of green timber, pin oaks. I’m cutting a swathe of trees to put a levee in. We’re cutting right through the middle of the woods. It’s about five hundred yards.

Ramsey Russell: How is the humidity in that part of the world versus Minnesota?

Lee Kjos: Well, it’s humid, but we got way lucky with the weather. It’s 84º and cloudy, so it’s not nearly as bad as it could have been. No complaining here. I’m working on duck habitat. No complaining. 

Ramsey Russell: How about you, Brandon? You’re busy right now, I understand. 

Brandon Cerecke: I’m in the air conditioned shop right here where all the loading gets done, so I’m okay. Outside, where the shot’s made and plated, it’s hotter than shit, but back here we do all the loading in air conditioning because it keeps the powder nice and dry. We get more consistent powder drops and better quality stuff coming down the end of the line with AC. Not everyone does it that way, but we do.

Ramsey Russell: Well, good. That’s good. Tell me what else is going on in the world of Lee and Brandon. We haven’t talked and visited in a while, guys.

Lee Kjos: No, but Boss is good. Boss is rolling along. We’re happy. I would say that we’re in season now. If I know Brandon, he’ll say the same thing. He’s busy at the shop right now. We’re ready. We’re ready for it.

Brandon Cerecke: Yep. We’re taking a couple days off, actually. We got all of our work done for the week ahead of schedule, and we’re taking off tomorrow and Friday. Meg, some of the guys from the shop, Tyler, my kids, and my wife are going up a couple hours north to this event—it’s our second time going—called Mud and Mayhem. It’s a mud run where all the guys get their duck boats and their surface drives out, and they go rip through lily pads and have slalom races. It’s a fundraiser for the Michigan Duck Hunters Association, MDHA. Every year, the duck boat guys get together and raise money. Outside sponsors donate items for raffles and that whole bit, and it raises money for kids to go on hunts. The last couple of years, they bought shotguns and a bunch of waders and clothes. They’re trying to get more kids into the sport. We kick in and give all the shells for the kids to go out on their first duck hunt. It’s kind of a cool thing. It’s a lot of fun, too.

Ramsey Russell: That sounds like a lot of fun. Are y’all doing that this weekend?

Brandon Cerecke: Yes, on Saturday. Last year, we went up Friday night, but this year we’re going up a day early just to get camp set up. We’re taking the bus. We’ve got a second RV. Meg’s coming with her family, and her dad and husband and little guys are going to be there. It’s such a cool event. I’m not going to say it’s redneck, but it’s redneck. My wife’s not into the whole redneck bit, but she came last year and I was thinking, “Oh man, I’m going to hear about this afterwards.” She says, “You know what, Brandon? That was so much fun. I can’t believe how good a job everybody did at putting that event together. I can’t wait to go next year.” And I’m like, “Are you kidding me?” She’s like, “Nope.” She loved it. It’s terrific. Great people, awesome time, good event.

Ramsey Russell: We need more events like that to energize the youth and to get more people involved in hunting. I’m a firm believer in that. I got off the phone last night with a guy named Michael Kahler, who is JJ’s daddy. They operate WyoBraska out there in Wyoming, and this will be their eleventh year to put together an underwritten special youth hunt. They get like forty or fifty young people. They do prizes. They provide the ammo. They provide everything these kids need. If they need clothes, they’ve got them. They get them in a blind, they get them in a safe environment, and they shoot ducks and geese. Then they do giveaways. In the past couple of years, they’ve given away two or three shotguns. He said that, over the past ten years, all the guns have gone into the hands of young people that don’t even have a shotgun, whose mommas and daddies don’t hunt. I’m like, man, what a great cause to get behind, to show these kids how to do it and how to do it right. We’re all doomed, hunting is doomed, if we don’t recruit more people into the fold.

Digging Deeper into Goose Numbers & Crippling Effects

The number is loose, because it’s very hard to figure and monitor crippling, but from everything I’ve got, the average is that between 3.4 and 3.7 million a year are lost due to crippling.


Brandon Cerecke: Yeah. Well, on the flip side of that, we were talking to one of my buddies, who is a garbage man. He’s going to Mud and Mayhem with us, and he stops in, usually, every day, because he works right around the corner. That’s where their yard is. A guy gave him two Ken Martin vintage goose calls, in southern Illinois, that are from the 1950s. This guy is in his eighties now, and he’s starting to get to that point where he’s giving a lot of his old hunting stuff away. I was telling my buddy Jason, “Just imagine what goose hunting was like down in Saint Charles, Illinois, in the 1950s, when there weren’t a million and a half goose hunters.”

Ramsey Russell: When there were a lot of geese. There were a lot of geese going that far South. I’ve got to get a goose biologist on here to figure out what happened to that interior population that was going that far South. No, that would have been something. I’d love to step back in time and go to Cairo, Illinois, back in the ‘50s.

Brandon Cerecke: I think we can get to that point—and this is kind of an abstract thought—if we start chiseling down on that number of cripples. I honestly think that we can start reversing that trend and getting these bird numbers up. Lee said that we’ve lost what, three million? Let’s call it three million birds that we have lost 

Lee Kjos: I’ve been doing a lot of research on that lately. Deep research, in fact. I’ve been calling some old friends of mine that are biologists with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and they’re actually going to help me dig into these numbers. Then I talked to Ducks Unlimited yesterday morning about the same subject, and they’re going to help me. The number is loose, because it’s very hard to figure and monitor crippling, but from everything I’ve got, the average is that between 3.4 and 3.7 million a year are lost due to crippling.

Brandon Cerecke: Well, let’s just say it’s 3 million. If Boss could get to, let’s just say, 10% market share, and we cut that number of cripples in half— So that would be 300,000 birds that would conceivably be shot with Boss. Then we’d cut the number of cripples in half to 150,000, so we’d send 75,000 mating pairs back every year, assuming it’s a 50/50 gender split. That’s 75,000 mating pairs that would go back. What’s the average number in a clutch? Ramsey, what do you think?

Ramsey Russell: About 5 to 8.

Brandon Cerecke: 5? So 75,000 by 5 is 375,000. Every year, we could add—theoretically, just raw numbers, no major events or anything like that—close to a half million birds back.

Lee Kjos: Then that narrative change, Brandon, that you and I talked about, is for people to just get better at killing. That means using a better shell. It means understanding the relationship between your barrel and your choke. It’s patterning. It’s absolutely putting it on paper so that you understand what you’re doing at thirty, forty— Even if you want to step back and try one at fifty yards to see what it looks like, just so you understand. Then, if we practiced a little bit, I know that we could cut that number, as a community, in half. I know we could. That doesn’t even take legislation. It doesn’t take any federal mandates. Let’s face it, if we don’t start taking care of issues that we can take care of ourselves, they’re going to mandate it for us, right? I look at all these things and, back in the day, hunters and sportsmen were always the original conservationists. We have to get back to that.

Ramsey Russell: I think we are.

Lee Kjos: I do too, I do too.

Ramsey Russell: I can’t remember having this topic discussed like we’re discussing it right now. It’s a given, because duck hunting is an imperfect sport, we’re shooting a flying object with a shot column— It’s just like baseball. There’s error involved. The average duck hunter out there listening is going to count what he reduces to his bag. He’s going to put those six ducks, in the Mississippi Flyway, on a strap. That’s what he “killed that morning.” As someone that watches thousands upon thousands upon thousands of ducks die over the course of a normal, not COVID, year, as someone that works with a lot of outfitters, I know and accept the fact that not all those birds that we’re shooting with steel shot, especially, are dying. Such to the fact that nearly every single commercial operator I know factors in a percentage. Up in Saskatchewan, up in several of these provinces, they don’t stop at the limit that’s in the blind. They assume that there were birds that came in, caught a stray BB or got shot, and flew off. They stop below the apparent laid out limit, if you follow what I’m saying. They build it in, because they know— We may not count them if they’re not on the strap, but the game warden sitting a quarter mile away with binoculars does. Those guys are building that in. What does it say about the product we’re slinging at birds— I’m not dissing anybody. A dollar is a dollar, but as much time and effort and money as the average duck hunter expends going duck hunting—whether he’s hunting five times a year or fifty—to go and buy the cheapest barrel fodder you can sling downrange at an animal; there’s just something wrong with that narrative, man. After all that time and money and scouting and everything else we put into it, it really boils down to the trigger pull and whether he does end up on my strap or not.

Brandon Cerecke: Well, a lot of the time, when you’ve got birds coming into the decoys, the first one’s always going to get smoked. It’s the second and third one— All these guys that want to say, “Oh, I shoot all my birds over decoys.” Well, there’s no way, when all the gunfire erupts, that every single bird, a hundred percent of the time, is in those decoys. When they turn around and they’re backing up and getting out, that’s when the crippling happens. Those shots are not at thirty yards, and sometimes they’re not at forty yards, but people are going to pull the trigger. They just will. It’s human nature. That’s when the crippling happens.

Lee Kjos: There’s crippling that happens that we don’t even know it happens. You’ve got to factor that in, too. When the US Fish and Wildlife Service makes their laws for the year, they factor in crippling when it comes into a harvest.

Brandon Cerecke: Another reason I like tight chokes. You’re not going to cripple. You’re either going to hit it, or you’re going to miss it. Also, birds next to it are less likely to catch stray pellets with a tight pattern.


Getting Real About Patterning & Shooting in Decoys


Ramsey Russell: Any conversation on social media, any, where we’re talking about what size shot, what size choke, what about this, what about that— Somebody, or people, plural, will say, “I just shoot them in the decoys.” I get asked a lot about Boss Shotshells and chokes and combinations and what size pellets. I always say this: be honest with yourself. Be honest with yourself. We’re not talking in a public forum. I’m not asking you to explain to me and justify to me, but let’s get real here. There are days they’re not coming sugar shot in the decoys at twenty yards. I don’t know a duck hunter, one, who, if he feels like he can kill that bird at forty yards, is not going to shoot. That’s just duck hunting. I’m going to shoot at forty yards if I’ve got a shot. Sometimes, that’s how it is. Boy, when you start going around the world—with the weather and the species and blah blah blah—there’s a million different reasons a bird or a goose is not going to decoy and make it easy like she’s a poster on the wall. So be honest with yourself. Brandon, we’ve had this conversation. Last year, before you got me to the pattern boards, you asked me at Game Fair about my patterns. I shrugged, and said, “I just pattern in the air. I just shoot.” I remember patterning my gun, in fact, when steel shot came along, because nobody knew what this crap was. But it’s been a long time since then. 

Lee Kjos: Ramsey, come one, dude. There’s not very many people out there listening that shoot a hundred cases of shells a year at ducks.

Ramsey Russell: That’s true, but you can teach an old dog new tricks. When I stopped by to visit with Brandon last year, damn, he started cutting cardboard and drawing circles. I’m like, “What are you doing?” He’s like, “We’re going to shoot, and I want to see these patterns you’ve been shooting at these ducks.” I’m going to tell you, it was shocking how poor those patterns were. It didn’t matter if I was shooting lead down in Argentina or shooting Boss shotshells down in Mexico or shooting steel shot. It was not a desirable pattern. My theory has always been to kind of open up, open up, open up, as wide as I can get to where it’d be decent. I’ll tell you what’s happened, I’ve transitioned from shooting basically a light modified to a modified to an improved modified, with a full in my pocket. The difference is night and freaking day.

Lee Kjos: Night and day. Yeah. What are you shooting now, Ramsey? 


Shooting Boss Shotshells

There might be ten, there might be twenty or thirty, but you’ve got to make them count. Every shot counts.


Ramsey Russell: Let’s just assume an opening day or Argentina-like scenario, and I’m shooting Boss Shotshells. I’m going to shoot the #5’s. Last year, you made me up some of those #6’s and #7’s that were deadly. Let’s just assume in that scenario that there’s little shorty 1 1/4 ounce, 1 1/8 ounce #5’s. I’m going to start with a modified choke just because I’m going to assume, sight unseen, that those birds are going to be chip shot 20, 25 yards. The first couple of plays they’re not, out comes the mod and in goes the improved mod. That’s my edge, right there. Now, I know that this year in Azerbaijan it was real tough hunting. It was real A-game hunting, which I loved that game. It was the kind of hunt where, every single moment, you had to be in the game. It’s not like going to Argentina, where there’s hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of birds coming in the decoys over the course of the morning. There might be ten, there might be twenty or thirty, but you’ve got to make them count. Every shot counts. When three come in, you’ve got to be deciding to yourself, “Where do I start?”

Brandon Cerecke: That’s like shooting ducks in Southwest Michigan.

Ramsey Russell: That’s it. It’s real duck hunting. But I like that because my head is so in the game with it. I was over there for two weeks, and about day three, I quit putting in the modified. I just started right off with the improved mod, and it made all the difference in the world.

Brandon Cerecke: Would it be bad if I said that shooting ducks down here is kind of getting laid for the first time when you’re sixteen years old? You get all of this anticipation, you’re just dreaming about it, you just can’t wait, and then the day comes; three or four minutes later, it’s all over with.

Ramsey Russell: I know. It’s terrible. That’s real duck hunting.

Lee Kjos: Three or four minutes?

Brandon Cerecke: You were sixteen. Think about it. You were sixteen once, Lee. Come on, now.

Lee Kjos: I mean, that’s a long time for sixteen. You’re a stud, dude!

Ramsey Russell: Only during commercial breaks.

Lee Kjos: Let’s get back to that improved modified, right? Back in the day when I was shooting lead, that’s what I shot: a factory IM choke out of my old Benelli. That’s pretty much where I am around that configuration today. Whether it’s a factory choke or some of the nicer aftermarket chokes, that’s where I’m at now. Brandon and I, we talk about this stuff all the time, and he knows I just had a 28 gauge made by Tony Galazan at Connecticut Shotgun. It’s a side-by-side, and he put 30” barrels on it, and I had it bored full and full. There’s not much shot in a 28 gauge, of course, and I’m only interested in killing or missing. That’s what I’m after. It’s going to be my duck gun, right? It’s going to be what I’m going to shoot greenheads in the timber woods with. The crippling thing drives me nuts when it happens, so anything I can do to tighten that up I do. I agree with you, man. Ramsey, you were telling me, like a month or so ago, about pass shooting specks somewhere.


Pass Shooting Specks – Changes in Choke & Shell

I wouldn’t even consider—unless it’s just a real pea soup fog—going loaded there with less than a full choke. The #3’s worked well. I think the #2’s work even better.


Ramsey Russell: Yeah. Oh, yeah.

Lee Kjos: Tell me how you changed when it came to things like choke and shell. Tell me that.

Ramsey Russell: Hold on, the place we’re hunting is a staging ground for whitefronts and cranes of epic proportions. It’s a miles-long stretch of river. You can’t get within a quarter or half mile of it to walk or anything. We’re hunting an adjacent hilltop, and the birds come out of the river and come over the hilltop. Now, they’ve got about a half mile flight getting to that point where we’re waiting on them. When it’s real windy, you’ve got the wind at your back, a good, brisk wind blowing. If it’s foggy, they’re low over the top. Twenty, thirty yard chip shots all day long. Boom, boom, boom, boom, you’re done. But that’s rare. It’s when there’s not much wind, when there’s no fog or no clouds— Some of the birds will pass within thirty or forty yards. A lot of them are going to be way out of range, but a lot of them are going to be in that fifty, sixty yard range, which is a reach. The man I hunt with is probably one of the very best shots I’ve ever hunted with. No matter where we hunt together, he’s always just deadeye dick with a shotgun. Now, having hunted with him where he’s been hunting for twenty-five or thirty years, I get it. He’s a pass shooter, and I have seen him, with my own eyes, kill at eighty yards. Stone cold dead. A lot of those locals will shoot at birds in that sixty or seventy yard range, but I can tell you this: more is better. I showed up under-choked and under-shot. For a good pass shooting day, I had to increase the shot size, increase the payload, and definitely tighten up the choke. I wouldn’t even consider—unless it’s just a real pea soup fog—going loaded there with less than a full choke. The #3’s worked well. I think the #2’s work even better. I’ve got a handful of buddies that are absolutely in-the-decoys purists only. They’d just as soon come to the boat ramp with one duck as four if all four of them weren’t sitting in the decoys. That’s just how they are. But it’s not sky busting if it’s a killable shot and you got the right gear, your choke’s right, and you’re experienced at making those shots. It’s not sky busting if something falls. In fact, when it’s falling stone cold dead, it’s just good shooting. There’s a lot of places I’ve hunted around the world that are not that way. Let me tell you a funny story I just thought of when you were talking about in the decoys. I got a buddy I call Don Miller. That’s his nickname. We go hunting together, and it’s Mississippi public, a place he’s been hunting since birth. We get off, and we’re in the cypress trees. There’s all these nails going up the cypress trees as the water rises, and these nails are bent at like 90°. Big nails have been driven into these cypress trees, and the nails are bent. What you do is you find the nail that fits your boat, depending on the water height, and just kind of skip down and hook the gunwale in it. Now you can stand up in your boat and shoot with a real nice platform. We were sitting there. Man, this guy loves to call, and he wants to see orange feet paddles right there, twenty yards, on the decoys. We shot a few that way, and we had a pair of greenheads buzzing around and buzzing around and buzzing around. I didn’t think they were going to do it. They had three or four tries. When I say they came around treetops, I’m not talking seventy yard trees, I’m not talking real tall towering forest. I’m talking short cypress trees. They come in about thirty yards over, and I boom, boom, doubled. Before the first one hit the water, I’d been called every bad word in the book. Then the second one hit as he was taking a breath to start cussing me again. We went and picked them up and whatnot. He just explained to me, though, he said, “I get it, Ramsey, but I want them in the decoys.” That’s just the way he hunts. He wants greenheads only in the decoys, and I respect that. That’s cool, but that ain’t how I hunt. I don’t think that’s how most people hunt. I see enough videos online and hunt with enough people that, sometimes, you’ve got to get it done.


Whoopass In A Trigger Pull


Lee Kjos: Speaking of patterns— Brandon, I saw that post you made of that new purple shell of ours and that pattern that came out of that old Model 12. Oh my God, is that something else.

Brandon Cerecke: Yeah, I’m looking at it right now. There were 199 pellets, right around 200 pellets, inside that one ounce load, and I put 186 of them inside 30 inches. That’s a 94% pattern, and I would have every one of them if I were to draw a 36-inch circle. I can see every side of the paper. Stupid. 93 year old shotgun with a full choke. 94%.

Lee Kjos: I can’t believe how even that pattern is. Holy man, is that even.

Brandon Cerecke: There’s one little hole in it, but I think we can live with that. I’ve got to shoot more of them.

Ramsey Russell No, if you want to talk about whoopass in a trigger pull, that’s one ounce of whoopass right there. 

Brandon Cerecke: It’s cool, and we’ve got purple shells for the guys that are the diehard 16 gauge users. Last year, we couldn’t get them. We were able to get our stuff together, lined up, off season, so we’ve got purple 16’s now. We got it unloaded yesterday. When we get these hulls in, they ship from Florida in cases with no pallets, so it takes us about two hours to unload a semi-truck and stack everything up. We got them back there yesterday by lunchtime, and today, after lunch, I spent a couple of hours and got the press all dialed in. They’re ready to roll now. We’re going to do that in a #3, a #5, and a #7. Odd numbers. I can’t wait to see guys smashing honkers with #3’s and all that.


What’s Leading the Sub-Gauge Revolution in Duck Hunting?

They’re so happy that they get to blow the dust off Granddad’s gun. It really is fun hearing the stories, too.


Ramsey Russell: What are y’all making those #7’s for? Ducks? Light ducks? Teal?

Brandon Cerecke: No, I think that it’s going to be more upland. It’s going to be a total upland play. #7’s— I shot them last year in tight timber with a loose choke 12 gauge, and it’s hell on wood ducks, man, and mallards.

Ramsey Russell: I shot them last year with that old project gun. That 20 gauge was smoking after 30 yards.

Brandon Cerecke: We did those in 2 3/4“, didn’t we, Ramsey?

Ramsey Russell: 2 3/4“, yep, because I wasn’t smart enough to think to get that gun chambered in 3”, but I got a chambered in 2 3/4“, which was probably a good idea because it’s such old wood. I didn’t want to pressure it. You made it kind of low pressure. I remember when you asked me what size shot I wanted, I said #7’s. That’s what I grew up shooting, was lead #7’s, #7 1/2‘s, so it was perfect. Lee’s sitting here talking about a 28 gauge he’s got coming for his timber there in Missouri.

Lee Kjos: I have it. I’ve been shooting it. I probably have five or six cases of shells I’ve run through it already. I’ve been shooting sporting clays a lot.

Brandon Cerecke: That 28 gauge needs to be the new baseline for—like we were talking about earlier—youth hunters. Because a lot of these little kids, swinging a shotgun— And even some of these 410’s— 410’s don’t have the ballistics.

Lee Kjos: There’s too much skill involved in a 410.

Brandon Cerecke: Yep. A 28 has no recoil, it’s not loud, and you can get the guns light enough. Had I known about the 28 five years ago, there wouldn’t be Boss, because I wouldn’t have to mess with trying to get a good 20 gauge for landing. I’m glad that I didn’t find out about it, but now that I know, that’s where it’s at.

Ramsey Russell: Well, here’s my point, as an outsider looking in at your product line, looking at social media, and looking at the people I know— My own children have given up the 12 gauge since Boss Shotshells came along. I was on the phone last week with a firearm manufacturer. We were talking along these lines, and I told him, “There is a major sub-gauge revolution underfoot in duck hunting.” It’s not a ripple; it’s a tidal wave. Here’s also what I said, folks. I said, “Boss Shotshells is leading the charge.” That’s just me on the outside looking in at your product line, your product offers that you are starting to offer, and your product pipeline. Would y’all say the same thing, Brandon?

Brandon Cerecke: I would say so, yeah. For sure. It’s a growing segment, obviously. Last year was our first year, but we’ve probably already sold more sub-gauge stuff than we did all last year. The 28 led the pack, big time. Not for turkeys, but for ducks. 28’s were head of the class. Even 20 gauge has grown from year one to year two. We’re seeing that tick up a couple points every year, as far as that ratio of the 12:10. We kind of look at anything under 20 gauge as sub-gauge, and we’ve put 12 and 10 in the same group.

Ramsey Russell: Mm-hmm. Where’s the 16 gauge? Because, growing up, I’ve never owned a 16 gauge, but I’ve heard so much about them over the years.

Brandon Cerecke: I count the 16 gauge even though it’s not. I put that in the sub-gauge category in my own head, but when you think of halfway between a 12 and a 20, that’s exactly what that 16 is. I don’t think there’s a lot of people making new 16’s. I know Browning’s making one, Ithaca still makes one, but a lot of the guys shooting 16’s are bringing up these old Model 12’s, which is awesome.

Lee Kjos: Model 12’s and Sweet Sixteen square backs.

Ramsey Russell: What do you think is leading that revolution?

Brandon Cerecke: People have old guns that they haven’t shot and haven’t been able to shoot.

Lee Kjos: Now, with our shells, they’re able to. They’re so happy that they get to blow the dust off Granddad’s gun. It really is fun hearing the stories, too. Ramsey, we had a dude last year who direct messaged us and said, “Hey, I want to tell you guys something. My grandfather and my dad stopped hunting ducks after the feds imposed a lead ban in 1991. Because of your shotshell, my granddad and my dad went out with me on opening day this year”—I believe it was in Michigan—”and shot a limit of wood ducks and some mallards. Grandpa had his square back, and Dad had his Model 12.” He said, “If it weren’t for Boss Shotshells, my dad or grandpa would have never gone out again.” That’s pretty cool, right? That’s pretty cool when you hear that, right? Like Brandon said, these older guns—especially Sweet Sixteen square backs and Model 12’s—are coming out of the woodwork. The patterns that those old barrels throw are really hard to beat. The last duck my dad shot was in 1994, the year he died, and he shot a Winchester Model 12, 30”, full choke. Simmons from Olathe, Kansas, put the rib on that gun. That was like his baby, that gun. He passed away in ‘94. That gun of his, I hung it up.

Brandon Cerecke: That’s the one with the split pump, right?

Lee Kjos: Yeah. It’s got a crack in the pump. It’s painted, it’s beautiful, it’s just so nice. It’s just killer. I told Brandon, “I want to shoot some shorties out of this. I want to pattern it.” So I took it to a gunsmith because the safety was hung up on it. My buddy Bob Odenthal looks at it and says, “Let me take a look at the gun.” He fixes it, he calls me, and he goes, “Hey, I was going through your dad’s gun, and I noticed there’s some pitting in it in the barrel.” I said, “Really?” He goes, “Yeah.” I said, “What’s the pitting from?” He goes, “Well, it could be leftover pieces of plastic from a wad and stuff that held moisture or whatever. It’s tiny pitting.” I said, “What should I do?” He goes, “Why don’t I send it into Briley’s for you, and I’ll have them overbore it a little bit.” I said, “Ooh, man, what do you mean by overbore?” He goes, “Well, they’ll just take a tiny bit off until they get rid of that.” Anyway, he gets it back, and it’s overbored like three thousandths, right? Those Model 12’s had great chokes. Odenthal told me, “This is going to be like a really good long-range shooter.” I go, “Cool.” So I get home, and the first thing I do is set up a pattern at fifty yards. On a tape, right? No bullshit. On a tape. I take a 2 3/4” #5. One shot— It is the most absurd pattern. Well, it’s just like that 16 gauge one Brandon did, except it’s a 12 gauge. It’s unreal how good that pattern is at fifty yards. I’ll send it to you after we get done with this so you can take a look at it.

Brandon Cerecke: You’re not going to want to believe it. People wouldn’t believe it. It’s stupid. I’ve seen the pictures.

Lee Kjos: Is that because those barrels were drilled, and they’re not forged?

Brandon Cerecke: I think so.

Lee Kjos: Is that the reason?

Brandon Cerecke: That’s part of it. I think a lot of it is due to the old fixed chokes, but I’m telling you—I can’t be for certain, but—some of those new barrels that started off as hammer forged don’t even come close to throwing patterns like the old profiled and gun drilled barrels, or even like what certain manufacturers do. Savage, for one, and Mossberg, are still gun drilling and profiling their barrels from a solid billet, not starting off with a four-inch chunk of metal, or whatever it is, and hammering it out. You would think that, with a rifle, that would mess with the precision of a bullet, but not multiple pieces of bismuth traveling down the barrel. But it does. It has to, because there’s no other explanation for it.


Barrel Changes to Accommodate Steel Shot


Ramsey Russell: I don’t understand the engineering or the concept behind it, but I’ve heard for years that since steel shot came out, because of the increased speed, increased load, less malleability, and something about the way that the gas pressure forms, a lot of firearm manufacturers, to accommodate steel shot, changed the overall barrel design. It’s like they loosened it up. A 1970 modified choke would throw a lot tighter pattern than a 2020 modified screw-in choke. They had to accommodate that for liability reasons because of shooting steel shot. That’s what I understood. I don’t understand exactly what that entails, but I get the gist of it.

Brandon Cerecke: Well, just a short version, real quick: when you set that powder on fire and it combusts, a lot of the energy—with a lead shell, or bismuth—was absorbed in the water and the soft shot. It could take that spike because it would deform a little bit. With steel, you get this ping pong ball effect kind of thing, where the pellets start rattling around, and they don’t compress at all. So that pressure spike goes through the roof, like, right now. You end up having to use slower powders that build their pressure over a longer impulse time, but you still get that shock, and that’s what causes more stress on the barrel. But again, I don’t know. I know Remington did a study where they were trying to rupture barrels, and it’s really hard to build enough pressure to do it because one end of the barrel, or the tube, is always open. It’s not like it’s a pressure vessel. It’s always venting. In order to rupture a barrel, they were having to go like five times SAAMI spec, which is in like high power rifle pressure territory. Like 50,000 psi before they could get a barrel to blow up. I don’t know. I just know that the older the gun, the better the pattern.

Why the 28 Gauge is a Freak!

Try it, because, boy, it sure seems like, to me, what a fun gun to shoot. Man, are they fun.


Lee Kjos: Well, let me throw this one out there. This might be a little caveat to this little story we’re talking about right here. I bought a Benelli Ethos 28 gauge sporting. It’s got a stepped rib on it, and it’s got a 30” barrel. I patterned it the other day. I put that IM choke in it—improved modified—and I shot those same crazy patterns. I know a lot of it has to do with the shell and how Brandon makes the shell, I get that, but I also wonder if it has anything to do with other gauges, too? No, it doesn’t, because the 12 gauges do the same thing for us. I don’t know. It’s just Boss. It’s our shells. It is. They’re fancy. In case you don’t know it, they’re fantastic. You should try them.

Ramsey Russell: The 28 gauge has always been standard among big shooters as throwing a very impressive pattern, for some reason.

Brandon Cerecke: Yeah. They say that it’s like a square load and that the diameter of the barrel bore is the same as the height of the shot column, and it’s not. It’s not even close to being square. But there’s something there that, the way the powder burns in that diameter of the bore, with a smaller shot size— The guy from Houghton who we buy our powder from goes to all the competitive shoots, is a big time upland hunter, and he said that a 28 gauge pattern flying through the air is like a perfect saucer, like a saucer plate that is rectangular or square. As big around as it is, it’s the same length of that shot string. I don’t think anyone’s really ever done a deep dive into why the 28 gauge is a freak, but it is, and someone needs to do it. Maybe we ought to do it one of these days. 

Lee Kjos: Try it, because, boy, it sure seems like, to me, what a fun gun to shoot. Man, are they fun.


BOSS Shotshells Benefit the Sport & the Environment


Ramsey Russell: Boss Shotshells has been in business for just a handful of years. For over three decades, since the federal government mandated steel shot coming out of these guns, we have been subject to this increasing narrative about technology and speed and shell length and all this bullshit. Now, just after the handful of years y’all have been in business, there’s young people buying guns at pawn shops that are as old as their daddy and granddaddy to go out and shoot y’all’s shells with these old guns. There’s guys like me rummaging through the back of the safe to get these old guns that have been retired for thirty years and watching them work their magic again. My son Forrest, who’s 22 years old, is in a whole different stage than the average 50 year old duck hunter and has hung up his 12 gauge and picked up a 20 because he likes the performance, shooting Boss Shotshells. It gives it a little sporting edge. To me, that right there is a resounding testament to what copper-plated Boss Shotshells are doing in the sporting industry, let alone the environmental benefits of fewer cripples.

Brandon Cerecke: That’s right. And no tox, when it comes to upland hunting. Getting lead out of the environment.

Ramsey Russell: That’s astounding. I just shake my head. If anybody’s listening, I’m in the market for a couple of Model 12’s, just because my dad had one. My brother and I both took turns shooting it. It was our first true 12 gauge. Kicked like a mule when I was a young man, but it didn’t miss.

Lee Kjos: Ramsey, do you think anyone listening to this podcast is going to sell you one of their Model 12’s after hearing us talk about them?

Ramsey Russell: I hope so. But that’s okay. They’re available online. I’m just looking for the right two. My dad’s gun was supposed to go to my brother. I’m assuming he or his wife sold it preceding his death. Now, I’m looking for one for myself and my brother. They’re not terribly expensive guns. They’re out there.

Brandon Cerecke: Not until you start looking for the one in 28 gauge. Get your wallet out, then. And the 410. I picked up the Model 12, what I call the 42. I got one of those 410’s, which looks identical to the Model 12 but, for whatever reason, when they chamber it in 410, they change the model number. I got one of those.

Lee Kjos: The year they made it. 1942. Boy, the Mayor just bought a dandy for like $1,700. Oh, boy, is it nice. $1,700, he pays for it. It looks like the $3,500 to $5,000 variety. They are out there. They are. A Model 12, a straight 12 gauge, 30”, full choke— You can buy those for $500.

Brandon Cerecke: Oh, I was buying them up last year for $300. One, my 16 gauge, doesn’t have a lick of bluing on it and it’s beat to shit, but the barrel’s straight and it’s really cool. Oh, man, is it cool.

Lee Kjos: Is that the one you shot that pattern with?

Brandon Cerecke: Yeah. My 42 doesn’t have a scratch on it, and I feel bad taking that thing out in timber. I’m scuffing it. But as for this 1927 model that I’ve got, there’s nothing that’s already been done to it in the last 93 years that I won’t be able to do again and hurt it. It’s bulletproof, and it looks cool. I love it.

Lee Kjos: I’m afraid that I’m turning this into a Model 12 show, but tell us: when you do your patterning and stuff, when you did the original work, what gun did you use? That original Black Eagle?

Brandon Cerecke: A Super Black Eagle, yeah.

Lee Kjos: Was it a Super Black Eagle, or an original Black Eagle?

Brandon Cerecke: No, it was a Super Black Eagle. I was starting my senior year of college—this would have been like 2003—and Capital One had 0% interest, and I had a cell phone in my name, so I had enough established credit. My buddy worked at the gun store, and he told me, “When you fill out the application, just say that you make $40,000 a year. You’ll be able to get the 0% credit card.” So I had to get a Super Black Eagle left-handed. I don’t like owing people money. Lee will tell you that. I hate owing people money. I had twelve months, 0%, to pay this thing down. I think it was like $1,400 or $1,300 back then. It took eleven months and three weeks to come up with that money and rake it together, but I paid that thing off. I still have it today.

Lee Kjos: And it’s a great gun.

Brandon Cerecke: Oh, yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Benelli is a great gun. I’m a huge fan of Benelli, y’all know that.

Lee Kjos: Well, you know, I am too. Yep. I love those old black M1’s of mine. I love them.


Musings on Music, Covid, and Tequila 

So I think it’s going to be a while before Canada, but the flip side of that is that I think it’s really going to be a robust waterfowling season in the Lower 48. People are dying to get out, and I’m glad for that.


Ramsey Russell: Last time we talked, this COVID stuff was just getting started good, and it was sinking in and everything else. Brandon, you and I were supposed to go to Ontario. That’s not going to happen this year, I don’t think. We’re going to have to back up to next year, but I’m here. Who knows what those crazy son-of-a-guns up there in Canada are going to do. But I’m here maybe in November, maybe in January. I’ve even heard a mutual friend of ours, Brandon, up in Saskatchewan, who doesn’t believe, based on his government intel, that Canada is going to let tourists come in without quarantine until June 2021.

Brandon Cerecke: I think that’s probably more towards the reality. Lee knows plenty about that.

Lee Kjos: Well, I ask a lot of questions, and I’ve called a lot of people. I got to tell you, I did hear that. That bothered me. I heard June 1st, right? I’ve also heard the other things where they’re trying to open it up, and they’re trying to work together. It doesn’t sound good. For those people out there that follow Boss Shotshells on Instagram, they’ve read a handful of posts, and they know that we feel bad for the guys and outfitters that are losing business like other people down here are. When you’re pass shooting specks in Saskatchewan, you know what those little towns are like along the river down there. They’re just going to get crushed. It’s awful. It really is. It’s awful. So I think it’s going to be a while before Canada, but the flip side of that is that I think it’s really going to be a robust waterfowling season in the Lower 48. People are dying to get out, and I’m glad for that.

Ramsey Russell: People are stir crazy. People are absolutely stir crazy to get out of the house. I’d do anything to leave the house, to keep from watering the grass or doing anything else. I’m getting a little stir crazy myself.

Brandon Cerecke: Ramsey, I think you and I were on the phone one day right when our governor locked the state down. At that point, there was so much information spreading around and no one knew anything. There were also a lot of, I’m not going to say conspiracies, but just opinions; more of that, and less fact. That was March, and I was telling my wife that it’s like you blink and now here we are. It’s the end of July, and it feels like my summer has been robbed from me. One of the reasons why is that it seems like I haven’t gotten shit accomplished. Normally, summertime is when we start doing concerts. Friends, family, and that whole bit. We do Buffett shows. I know that a lot of people who shoot ducks and geese don’t know who in the hell Jimmy Buffett is, but I’m telling you, everyone out there needs to go to a Jimmy Buffett concert at least one time in their life. Usually, outside in the summertime, there’s about 36,000 people that can pack into these outdoor amphitheaters at full capacity, non-COVID, and everyone’s shit-faced. Everyone’s having a good time. Me doing that back in my teenage years was how I fell in love with tequila and good-looking women. 

Ramsey Russell: Tequila and good-looking women can be mutually exclusive.

Brandon Cerecke: We used to go on the road and follow this guy around, just go to Cincinnati and Cleveland, Ohio, and Chicago. I found a journal after my dad passed away. I was in his office cleaning out his desk. When he got sick with MS, he was starting to journal a lot. Some of the things he said about me really kind of pissed me off. He’s like, “Friend, I don’t know what’s going on with my son. He’d rather go to these concerts than work,” and this and that. Now, mind you, I would work all summer. Like, fifty hours a week minimum, but I would take off three days, or maybe a week at the most. I was a high school kid. I would take off a week, and he was up my ass. But I didn’t give a shit. It was to the point that I said, “Dad, you know what? Kiss my ass. I’m going to these damn concerts.” He couldn’t get his head around it. It was an eye-opening experience. Lee and I talk music all the time. Music and hard work are what truly drives me, and for different reasons. My dad was sick, right? So when I go to these Buffett shows— Hey, you’re sixteen, seventeen years old. Tequila and good-looking women? You can party all day long and just keep going. Then that took me to Key West, and you get to see all the cool shit going on down there. It was like total escapism. Not denial, but for a day or a week you could put all the bullshit aside and just live carefree. I think maybe hunting does that for some people. It doesn’t do it for me like music does, man. I got to see all kinds of good shit. One of the best concerts I saw was Crosby, Stills & Nash like five years ago. Those old dudes still got it. James Taylor and Carly Simon had a kid named Ben. I saw Ben Taylor play with his dad. Ben is every bit the talent that James is. Unbelievable musician. Then Tom Petty, the year before he died. Those are like the highlights. Jimmy Buffet’s not a talented musician. He doesn’t claim to be. He can’t sing that great. He’s not that good of a guitar player. But, man, can he throw a party.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. I need to add him to my bucket list. I’ve never seen him.

Brandon Cerecke: You’ll probably have to hike a little bit to go see him from Mississippi, because he doesn’t get down there very often.

Ramsey Russell: I’d rather go see him in Florida, anyway.

Brandon Cerecke: Come up and see him with me whenever I go to Ohio or Michigan. Ramsey, it’s like my alter ego, dude. Like you don’t know. You don’t even know.

Lee Kjos: You’re going to see another Brandon. We’ll just call him Ziggy Stardust.

Ramsey Russell: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Tequila.

Brandon Cerecke: That was my dad’s favorite. When I was a little kid, my dad had a jukebox when CD’s first got popular. It was a Wurlitzer that turned CD’s, and he’d listened to Lobo, Seals and Crofts, James Taylor, Crosby, Stills & Nash, David Bowie, all that old shit. The Eagles. About that time was when the Eagles got back together and did the Hell Freezes Over thing in ‘94. That right there, I took a deep dive in that. Just to see how you get the party and sailor drunk Jimmy Buffett, who used to open for the Eagles, who were buddies with Jackson Browne— You start looking at how all these groups are tied together. Even though they’re in totally different genres of music, they’re all like the deal. Super cool shit. I could go on for hours and hours on YouTube watching old Zeppelin videos and old Eagles shit.


All About Music: Best Concerts, Bands, Albums, and More


Ramsey Russell: I know that music is important to all of us, but it’s funny you should talk about concerts and live music. My favorite go-to albums since high school have been live albums. The Eagles live. Was it Glenn Frey? I had no idea that, at one time, he was traveling around with Bob Seger. He was a major influence on him. I had no idea.

Lee Kjos: He started with Seger when he was nineteen years old.

Brandon Cerecke: Glenn Frey’s mom wouldn’t let him go on the road and tour with Bob Seger because she busted him smoking weed. Yeah, Bob Seger was a bad influence on Glenn Frey.

Lee Kjos: Yeah. Then how about getting that video you sent me the other night, his interview on Later with Bob Costas. He was talking about Seger, and he said that Bob Seger told him, “If you don’t start writing your own material, you’re never going to get out of Detroit.” That could have been a big reason why there was the Eagles.

Ramsey Russell: No doubt.

Brandon Cerecke: And Linda Ronstadt was who put the Eagles together.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah, I saw that same video, and it blew my mind. I had no idea.

Lee Kjos: Fantastic stuff. Ramsey, we’ve had conversations, and Brandon and I certainly have, about plagiarism in this country. Look what China does to this country, right? Plagiarism is a horrible, horrible thing. There’s nothing good about it. There’s nothing original. It’s not how America was made, but there’s so much of it today. When you think about music and the respect that they had for each other— When you go watch something live and somebody covers a tune that they loved, what’s the first thing they’d do? They’d give credit to who did it. It’s the only industry that I know of that does that. That’s because they’re inspired, truly inspired.

Brandon Cerecke: That’s the closest thing to plagiarism that you’re ever going to see in the music industry in true musicians, is inspiration.

Lee Kjos: Exactly. That’s the difference. 

Brandon Cerecke: Jackson Browne had “Take It Easy” written, except for that one verse he couldn’t get past. So Glenn Frey finished the song for him, and Jackson Browne is like, “Whoa, dude, you killed it.” So he let them produce it, record it, and release it before Jackson Browne even got in the studio and did it. I think, obviously, the Eagles did it way better with the harmony of all the guys. Jackson Browne’s a talent and everything, but not like Frey and Henley and those boys. Not even close.

Ramsey Russell: Favorite Eagles song?

Lee Kjos: Oh, boy. “Seven Bridges Road.”

Ramsey Russell: That’s mine. No doubt about it.

Brandon Cerecke: That’s my wife’s.

Ramsey Russell: The thing about it is that, to my knowledge, they never recorded it in a studio. It was only live.

Brandon Cerecke: Yeah. For me, it’s “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” I think. Just the way the song opens. You think about this hot chick with tanned skin and dark hair.

Lee Kjos: And tequila?

Brandon Cerecke: Speaking of tequila, the Eagles got high on peyote and tequila and were thinking about what to name the band, and they were seeing birds fly up. They said the eagles are the highest flying bird there is, the closest to the sun, so we’re going to be called Eagles. Even though that’s the thing that always gets me. It’s not “The Eagles.” Everyone refers to them as “The Eagles,” but the name of the band is “Eagles.”

Lee Kjos: Before I lose you guys—and I don’t want to, but before I do—the next time the three of us talk on a podcast, here’s what we’re going to get into: if you could pick a front man, a bass player, a lead guitar, and a drummer, who would the four be that you’d put the band together? Don’t say it now.

Brandon Cerecke: Let’s talk about it now. Let’s do it.

Lee Kjos: I wanted to do a post on it, because I’m not saying I’m getting tired of talking about ducks or whatever all the time, but I thought it would be kind of fun to lay it out there for people. Or if you got stranded on an island and you could only bring four groups with you, who would the four be? The conversations that I’ve had with people are fantastic.

Brandon Cerecke: Okay. We’ll get to working on it. Ramsey, who’s your favorite music?

Ramsey Russell: I like all the old stuff we’re talking about, man. The Eagles, Bob Seger, and I like heavy metal. Let me tell you this, I went to a tiny little Christian private school in grade school, and I never will forget— I was thinking about it this morning, knowing I was going to talk to you two music hounds. They were getting the sixth grade and bringing all those kids into the auditorium. I always got in trouble. I always went to in-school suspension for having too long of hair for this little school. It was always over my collar. It drove my grandparents wild. I never will forget this preacher coming in and condemning rock music. Now, understand, what he was talking about was ‘70s pop music, which is an abomination against humanity. I get what he’s talking about, but all I could think was, “I’m not turning my music off.” I was way off pop mainstream by then. I like rock. I like old rock music. All of it. I like it all.

Brandon Cerecke: Christmas in 1992, I got a Sony boombox from Santa Claus. I would’ve been, what, ten years old. Kind of was onto the bit by then, but. It had detachable speakers, and I got three albums: Queen’s Greatest Hits; AC/DC Live, which was recorded in 1991; and the Black Album by Metallica. I wanted to go see Metallica and AC/DC. I was ten years old, and I couldn’t understand why my parents wouldn’t take me to the concert. 

Lee Kjos: Metallica was awesome. 

Brandon Cerecke: Here’s the other thing, too. David Geffen produced Metallica, but he also was the guy who did Eagles and Jackson Browne. Sometimes it’s not the guy that’s making the music, it’s the one who’s putting everything together.

Ramsey Russell: He had an eye for it.

Lee Kjos: You need it all, right, man?

Ramsey Russell: AC/DC Back in Black, to me, is one of the most perfect start to finish albums ever.

Brandon Cerecke: It’s just a bummer that Bon Scott had to die in order for them to really come through with the killer sound.

Lee Kjos: That’s the truth. After Back in Black, people got turned on to AC/DC. I will say this: of all the replacements of a front man in a band, Brian Johnson is the best of all time. Typically, if you lose the voice, you lose the band. But they pulled it off. Then people went back to the old stuff, the Bon Scott era, and they were like, “Holy shit, those guys were rad back then, too.”

Brandon Cerecke: I hate to get going on the whole Eagles thing, but I kind of have taken a deep dive into them now. When you look at their first album that came out in the summer of ‘72 and you look at that track listing, like four of the best songs they ever recorded were on that first album. It took AC/DC five albums before they came out with anything that was needle-moving, right?

Lee Kjos: Skynyrd did it.

Brandon Cerecke: In their first one that came out, right out of the gate.

Lee Kjos: Skynyrd did it. “Freebird”?

Brandon Cerecke: Led Zeppelin did it, too.

Lee Kjos: Zepp’s first album was covers.

Brandon Cerecke: Not one. Not the first one.

Lee Kjos: Yeah, covers.

Brandon Cerecke: Eh…

Lee Kjos: We might need to research this and bring this one into the next one. I believe their first album was covers.

Brandon Cerecke: Mm-mm. It wasn’t.

Lee Kjos: No?

Brandon Cerecke: No.

Lee Kjos: Really?

Brandon Cerecke: They were the ones that, when they came out with their first album, everyone was like, “Holy shit, who the hell is this?”

Lee Kjos: No, you can say the F-word. We’re talking about Zepp right now. You can say the F-word.

Brandon Cerecke: Okay. Well, when their debut album came out, they just lambasted them and said, “These guys are a flash in the pan. They don’t have any staying power. They’re not going to be around. They’re not relevant. They’re not good. Just ignore everything that you’re hearing. They’re not that cool.” Well, by the time the fourth album came out, they were sick and tired and so distrustful of the press and the magazines and even the record companies that when they came out with that fourth album and everyone was like, “What are you going to name it? What’s it going to be called?”, they told the record company, “Go fuck yourself. We’re not calling it shit. The music is going to speak for itself.” That’s why, Ramsey, I’ve got that Bonham American-made Ludwig drum set here. You know, the acrylic one you saw? Because when we first came out, everyone was like, “Oh, they’re just a fad. It’s hype. It’s bullshit. It’s not real.” I’m like, “Alright.” I told Lee the other day that before there was that whole “hold my beer” saying, there was Led Zeppelin.

Lee Kjos: Dude, that story, that was Page’s doing. He took the band, the other three members, and they went to that castle somewhere in England and hung out there. I think they suspended Bonham from—

Brandon Cerecke: No, he was in the middle of the atrium. He was in the middle of the atrium, and they hung the microphone from the ceiling of this thing.

Lee Kjos: He was a raging alcoholic at that time. He couldn’t get out of bed without drinking. He was a complete mess, and, you know, that’s how he died. The bottom line is, he not only didn’t name the album, but they don’t have their name or logo or anything on that album. There’s no branding on it at all. Think about the balls that you have to have come out with something, and there’s nothing on it. Everybody goes, “Hey, dude, where’s the Zepp album?” I remember being a kid, right? “Dude, where’s the Zepp album?” “Oh, it’s back there.” You go grab it, and it’s like—

Brandon Cerecke: It’s a man carrying a bag of sticks.

Lee Kjos: That’s what I called it. I called it “Sticks.” Some called it “Symbols,” and I called it “Sticks.”

Brandon Cerecke: If you listen to “When the Levee Breaks” on that—that’s the one that starts off with that little drum riff where he’s banging out the beat on the bass drum—there’s a lot of reverb in it. You can hear that. That’s the natural echo from the way they recorded that, with him inside that castle. You’ve got to listen to that after we hang up. It’s awesome.

Lee Kjos: Oh, it’s fantastic.

Ramsey Russell: I’m going to.

Lee Kjos: It really is. Remember, you’ve got to think about the four dudes. Then we’ll talk about if you get stranded on an island and you can only bring four groups with you, who are they? We got to do that one. 

Brandon Cerecke: I bet you that, just like the whole Kevin Bacon thing, that those four dudes that you bring together probably, in some way or another, all know each other.

Ramsey Russell: Oh, I guarantee you.

Brandon Cerecke: Like, who would have ever thought that Metallica would be indirectly tied to Glenn Frey? Right? Two generations apart. 

Ramsey Russell: Probably inspired. Well, here’s a question to end on. We’ve all got this music in our phones, now. Just a database of all this music we like to listen to. Who do you have in your music library that you don’t listen to around everybody? Maybe it ain’t cool, or it’s dorky. Your guilty or secret pleasure. Who do you listen to? It’s not Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, or the Eagles. Who in your music is somebody you just listen to alone?

Brandon Cerecke: You mean like I can’t play outside when I’m streaming at my pool because my wife is bitching about it? Rush and old Dave Matthews Band is some of the stuff that you wouldn’t think about that I like listening to. That takes me back to when I was drumming a lot when I was a kid. Dave Matthews is the first concert I saw live. So get this, I went to supervise for my dad. My sister was dating a guy that he didn’t really like at the time. He was a little bit of a doper, but he was a really nice guy, and my sister and I stayed way far away from that shit. My sister wanted to go to this concert with her boyfriend, and my dad’s like, “The only way you’re going is if you take your brother.” I’m like, “Yes!” That was like an all-day concert. It was Los Lobos, the Gin Blossoms, Neil Young with Crazy Horse, and Dave was the headliner. It was the first time I smelled weed, which I thought smelled awesome. It was the first live concert I went to, and that was like when my eyes were opened. I’m like, “This is what living is all about. This is fucking awesome.” I was just addicted to music after that.

Lee Kjos: That’s a great story.

Ramsey Russell: Lee, who’s your little secret music band in your playlist?

Lee Kjos: Well, I don’t think I have anybody I listen to that’s not super cool, but my wife absolutely hates it when I listen to the Allman Brothers and get into those long jams. She hates that. I love the Allman Brothers. I love Lynyrd Skynyrd. John Prine is my favorite singer-songwriter of all time. It’s not even close. I love music. I do. I love the era of music from when the Beatles landed here till— Brandon and I talked about it the other day.

Brandon Cerecke: It’s 1980.

Lee Kjos: Till Guns N’ Roses.

Brandon Cerecke: We can talk about that later, but Guns N’ Roses and Bon Jovi aren’t too far apart. Weren’t Richie Sambora and Tommy Lee nailing the same chick?

Lee Kjos: Dude, that’s not even close.

Ramsey Russell: No, not even close. Guns N’ Roses is a league of their own. I’m a huge Guns N’ Roses fan.

Lee Kjos: It’s crazy that GNR built a whole empire on Destruction, on one album.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. They did, too.

Brandon Cerecke: What was the name of that first album of theirs?

Lee Kjos: Appetite for Destruction.

Brandon Cerecke: That’s right. Then Use Your Illusion I and II and all that.

Lee Kjos: But I mean, that first one was off the charts.

Ramsey Russell: That was a band I never saw in concert, but I wish I had.

Lee Kjos: If I wasn’t like two thousand miles apart from you guys, I’d say we should go to a bar right now and finish this conversation.

Brandon Cerecke: Over some tequila.

Lee Kjos: Yeah, and hot chicks.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. Brandon, I know you’ve got to get back to work. I’ve heard your phone ringing off the hook.

Brandon Cerecke: I feel bad. These customers are probably pissed. They’ll be online tonight, “I tried calling the shop and no one answered.” I just got a sick kid. Meg had to go to the orthodontist with her boy, and I’m on a podcast. Like, I’m trying

Ramsey Russell: Call them back. They’ll be glad to hear from you. Lee, get our duck hole ready, now.

Lee Kjos: I will. I’ll get it ready. We’ll be killing greenheads in there this fall.

Brandon Cerecke: Alright, see you guys.

Lee Kjos: See you guys!

Ramsey Russell: Bye. Thank y’all for joining us. Folks, thank y’all for listening to a great episode of Duck Season Somewhere. Brandon Cerecke and Lee Kjos. See you next time.

Podcast Sponsors:, your proven source for the very best waterfowl hunting adventures. Argentina, Mexico, 6 whole continents worth. For two decades, we’ve delivered real duck hunts for real duck hunters. because the next great hunt is closer than you think. Search our database of proven US and Canadian outfits. Contact them directly with confidence.

Benelli USA Shotguns. Trust is earned. By the numbers, I’ve bagged 121 waterfowl subspecies bagged on 6 continents, 20 countries, 36 US states and growing. I spend up to 225 days per year chasing ducks, geese and swans worldwide, and I don’t use shotgun for the brand name or the cool factor. Y’all know me way better than that. I’ve shot, Benelli Shotguns for over two decades. I continue shooting Benelli shotguns for their simplicity, utter reliability and superior performance. Whether hunting near home or halfway across the world, that’s the stuff that matters.

HuntProof, the premier mobile waterfowl app, is an absolute game changer. Quickly and easily attribute each hunt or scouting report to include automatic weather and pinpoint mapping; summarize waterfowl harvest by season, goose and duck species; share with friends within your network; type a hunt narrative and add photos. Migrational predictor algorithms estimate bird activity and, based on past hunt data will use weather conditions and hunt history to even suggest which blind will likely be most productive!

Inukshuk Professional Dog Food Our beloved retrievers are high-performing athletes that live to recover downed birds regardless of conditions. That’s why Char Dawg is powered by Inukshuk. With up to 720 kcals/ cup, Inukshuk Professional Dog Food is the highest-energy, highest-quality dog food available. Highly digestible, calorie-dense formulas reduce meal size and waste. Loaded with essential omega fatty acids, Inuk-nuk keeps coats shining, joints moving, noses on point. Produced in New Brunswick, Canada, using only best-of-best ingredients, Inukshuk is sold directly to consumers. I’ll feed nothing but Inukshuk. It’s like rocket fuel. The proof is in Char Dawg’s performance.

Tetra Hearing Delivers premium technology that’s specifically calibrated for the users own hearing and is comfortable, giving hunters a natural hearing experience, while still protecting their hearing. Using patent-pending Specialized Target Optimization™ (STO), the world’s first hearing technology designed optimize hearing for hunters in their specific hunting environments. TETRA gives hunters an edge and gives them their edge back. Can you hear me now?! Dang straight I can. Thanks to Tetra Hearing!

Voormi Wool-based technology is engineered to perform. Wool is nature’s miracle fiber. It’s light, wicks moisture, is inherently warm even when wet. It’s comfortable over a wide temperature gradient, naturally anti-microbial, remaining odor free. But Voormi is not your ordinary wool. It’s new breed of proprietary thermal wool takes it next level–it doesn’t itch, is surface-hardened to bead water from shaking duck dogs, and is available in your favorite earth tones and a couple unique concealment patterns. With wool-based solutions at the yarn level, Voormi eliminates the unwordly glow that’s common during low light while wearing synthetics. The high-e hoodie and base layers are personal favorites that I wear worldwide. Voormi’s growing line of innovative of performance products is authenticity with humility. It’s the practical hunting gear that we real duck hunters deserve.

Mojo Outdoors, most recognized name brand decoy number one maker of motion and spinning wing decoys in the world. More than just the best spinning wing decoys on the market, their ever growing product line includes all kinds of cool stuff. Magnetic Pick Stick, Scoot and Shoot Turkey Decoys much, much more. And don’t forget my personal favorite, yes sir, they also make the one – the only – world-famous Spoonzilla. When I pranked Terry Denman in Mexico with a “smiling mallard” nobody ever dreamed it would become the most talked about decoy of the century. I’ve used Mojo decoys worldwide, everywhere I’ve ever duck hunted from Azerbaijan to Argentina. I absolutely never leave home without one. Mojo Outdoors, forever changing the way you hunt ducks.

BOSS Shotshells copper-plated bismuth-tin alloy is the good ol’ days again. Steel shot’s come a long way in the past 30 years, but we’ll never, ever perform like good old fashioned lead. Say goodbye to all that gimmicky high recoil compensation science hype, and hello to superior performance. Know your pattern, take ethical shots, make clean kills. That is the BOSS Way. The good old days are now.

Tom Beckbe The Tom Beckbe lifestyle is timeless, harkening an American era that hunting gear lasted generations. Classic design and rugged materials withstand the elements. The Tensas Jacket is like the one my grandfather wore. Like the one I still wear. Because high-quality Tom Beckbe gear lasts. Forever. For the hunt.

Flashback Decoy by Duck Creek Decoy Works. It almost pains me to tell y’all about Duck Creek Decoy Work’s new Flashback Decoy because in  the words of Flashback Decoy inventor Tyler Baskfield, duck hunting gear really is “an arms race.” At my Mississippi camp, his flashback decoy has been a top-secret weapon among my personal bag of tricks. It behaves exactly like a feeding mallard, making slick-as-glass water roil to life. And now that my secret’s out I’ll tell y’all something else: I’ve got 3 of them.

Ducks Unlimited takes a continental, landscape approach to wetland conservation. Since 1937, DU has conserved almost 15 million acres of waterfowl habitat across North America. While DU works in all 50 states, the organization focuses its efforts and resources on the habitats most beneficial to waterfowl.

It really is Duck Season Somewhere for 365 days. Ramsey Russell’s Duck Season Somewhere podcast is available anywhere you listen to podcasts. Please subscribe, rate and review Duck Season Somewhere podcast. Share your favorite episodes with friends. Business inquiries or comments contact Ramsey Russell at And be sure to check out our new GetDucks Shop.  Connect with Ramsey Russell as he chases waterfowl hunting experiences worldwide year-round: Insta @ramseyrussellgetducks, YouTube @DuckSeasonSomewherePodcast,  Facebook @GetDucks